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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

September 23, 2013

The expansion of the San Diego Convention Center has been front and center across the region, with everybody from sports fans to politicians expressing their views on the project.  With years of legwork done on the expansion’s behalf, the planned contiguous expansion promises to be a waterfront asset with public space as its focal point. When complete, the expanded San Diego Convention Center will create $700 million in economic impact and $13 million in additional hotel tax revenue.

Of course, keeping the Chargers in San Diego is a priority, but this is not seen as an either-or situation. San Diego can have a world-class convention center and a world-class football stadium. It would be a service to our economy and community to have both. The majority of San Diegans have worked hard to get to a place where we’re on the same page about the fate of the contiguous expansion. We need to move forward now. We need to show potential conference visitors and the rest of the world what we already know: San Diego is a great place to live and work.

For starters, we can take a look at the medical conventions hosted at the San Diego Convention Center. With six medical conventions slated for Fall 2013, the industry brings a reported $293.3 million in economic impact. Hands down, Comic-Con has the largest economic impact of any conference in San Diego. As Convention Center expansion proponents note, it is essential not only for economic impact, but also for maintaining the region’s cultural foothold. However, the Society for Neuroscience will bring 32,000 attendees and generate more than $131.9 million in economic impact. That’s nearly 75 percent of Comic-Con’s impact, with only a quarter of the number of attendees. Compounded with the region’s strong life sciences research – thanks to Sanford Burnham and others - and strong healthcare facilities, it would be hard to argue that these are not the exact type of people we want to attract to the region. Conferences are one way to get them here and we cannot delay the process any longer.

Every year, there is a plethora of conferences that San Diego cannot host simply because we do not have the capacity.  Our convention center business is already booming, but as conference organizers continuously expand, we cannot rest on our laurels any longer that our nice weather will bring people here. Yes, it helps but we need the capacity. The airport’s new Green Build just added 10 additional gates and numerous commercial opportunities. The expanded San Diego Central Library is slated to open next week. Now the convention center needs to follow suit.

Build it and they – the talent, the conferences, the investors -will come.

Now we’ll let the infographic do the rest of the talking

 

 
September 17, 2013

With more than 2,800 manufacturers spread out across San Diego County, the region is home to a diverse and growing manufacturing base which supports more than 91,000 jobs.  Yet there is a growing perception that manufacturing is on its way out, as jobs supposedly head overseas to remain cost competitive.  Every day, companies are finding ways to innovate and refine the manufacturing process and retain and bring back manufacturing jobs and it’s happening right here in our backyard.

On Oct. 4, many of these San Diego companies will open their doors to the public as part MFG Day, a national program that addresses common misperceptions about the manufacturing industry.  Participants include:

·         D&K Engineering – As the exclusive manufacturer of innovative e-recycler EcoATM, this Rancho Bernardo company also works in the medical device and 3d printing space. Register

·         Quality Control Manufacturing Inc. –  What started as a one man operation in a garage in 1978, has grown into a 95 person team for this Santee precision parts manufacturer Register

·         Taylor Guitars – Located in El Cajon, the Taylor Guitars’ factory tour takes guests through the steps of guitar construction. From wood selection to final assembly, guests will experience each process as a guitar evolves from raw wood into a finished instrument. Register

The tours will be preceded by a breakfast panel and discussion with representative from the touring companies at San Diego City College.

So why should San Diego County care about manufacturing? Here are a few reasons:

·         According to the Manufacturing Institute, every job created in the manufacturing sector supports 2.5 additional jobs

·         Manufacturing crosses all sectors – Military, tourism, and innovation- of San Diego’s traded economies; For example, the San Diego Military Advisory Council reports that the manufacturing industry is the largest business sector that provides goods and services to the military throughout San Diego County

·         The industry is more relevant than ever: According to the U.S. Census Bureau Quarterly Workforce Indicators, California's manufacturers created 51,571 new jobs in the third quarter of 2011

·         The Mega-region creates an economically competitive landscape for manufacturers—Just ask companies including 3Drobotics, Taylor Guitars, and Aqua lung

·         Small businesses are the lifeline of San Diego’s manufacturing ecosystem;  80 percent of manufacturers in San Diego and Imperial Counties have less than 10 employees

We hope to see you at Manufacturing Day, but if we don’t catch you there, you can still follow the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #MadeinSD.


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August 27, 2013

On the border of San Diego and Tijuana sits San Ysidro, the busiest land port of entry in the world. Every day, an astounding 50,000 vehicles and 25,000 pedestrians wait in line to enter the U.S. One in eight people who cross into the country daily will do so via the San Ysidro Port of Entry. And that’s only one of California’s six ports of entry.

The border provides enormous economic opportunities for the region, but wait times are impeding our ability to harness this potential. Current infrastructure needs must be addressed. According to the San Diego Metropolitan Export Initiative: Market Assessment, San Ysidro is an “infrastructural bottleneck,” with many respondents citing difficulties with border crossing as a barrier to doing business in Mexico.  Even with the recent expansion of several border crossings, today’s average wait time sits at 70 minutes, translating into more than eight million trips lost due to congestion each year. In fact, more jobs are lost in San Diego every year to border congestion than the government’s recent budget sequestration.*

A new bill is trying to speed up border wait times. SB 397, sponsored by Sen. Ben Hueso (D- San Diego), calls for the creation of an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL), which will permit carriers to use “Ready Lanes.” The technology in these new driver licenses, which will be issued by California’s DMV—eliminates the need to manually key –in travelers information, translating into a 60 percent faster processing time.

Several Canadian border states have successfully implemented EDLs and Arizona and Texas are working on instituting similar programs for our neighbors to the south.  

Although SB 397 is only a small part of a long string of reforms that are needed to expedite border crossing, it’s a step in the right direction. The San Diego region cannot afford to lose out on the $1.3 billion in revenue and $ 42 million in wages that dissipate due to border congestion every year. The border is one of the most unique aspects about the region. Companies including 3Drobotics and Aqualung don’t shy away from the fact that this is one of the reasons they are proud to call San Diego home. Through work with the CaliBaja Bi-National Mega-Region, EDC understands the fundamental necessity of teaming with Baja California, Mexico and Imperial County to the East.

Bottom line: the border means big business for the mega region. SB 397 is one step in helping us maximize our cross-border potential.

 

Sources:  AB 17, SB 397, SB 397 Fact Sheet

*Projected impact of sequestration was 10 percent of military personal across board in San Diego; Recent SDMAC report found that the military had  311,000 direct employees in the region, SDMAC Military Impact Report 2012

 


 

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August 19, 2013
This summer, EDC participated in Connect2Careers,a program that places young adults in summer internship programs across San Diego. Funded by the City of San Diego, the program works to address San Diego’s ongoing skills gap by providing meaningful summer work experiences that prepare young adults for in-demand jobs.
 
Before he heads back to school this fall, we gave our Intern Regan Pecjak one last assignment: reflect on his internship experience. Here’s what he had to say:
 
Supervisor Daichi Pantaleon with Regan PecjakWhen I began my internship at San Diego Regional EDC at the beginning of the summer I was in a position that I feel was representative of many San Diegans; I had only a vague idea of what economic development was and had absolutely no idea how it would pan out. The past weeks at EDC have given me an intimate understanding of both and provided me with an experience that I would have never had without the Connect2Careers program. 
 
Working at EDC has given me the opportunity to learn firsthand how the region is marketed to businesses and of the various efforts to expand the region’s economy. One of the major projects at EDC during my time here as the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Export Initiative. The plan is meant to address the under performance of San Diego’s international exports; despite having the 17th largest metro area population, San Diego’s export production ranks 55th. Sitting in these meetings gave me an in-depth understanding of the nature of some components of the region’s economy. 
 
Sitting in meetings and honing my office skills were not the only things I did; I really enjoyed the research assignments I was given. One of my favorite assignments involved researching incentives that US cities offer businesses to expand and relocate. It helped me understand what goes into creating a successful business climate and even got me thinking about some ideas that could potentially improve our own region!
 
After seven weeks at EDC, I’m happy to report that it’s been an invaluable experience. Working downtown provided me with access to key policy makers, as well as an informal network of economic development professionals. Within EDC’s walls, my co-workers were extremely cordial and were happy to talk with me. Thanks to the San Diego Regional EDC and the Connect2Careers program, I’ve had an excellent summer.  
 
Dec. 2013 update: EDC likes to keep in touch with interns following their experience to further help them on their professional paths. We're excited to share that Regan has been accepted early to Harvard. Although he is undecided on his major, he hopes to focus on economics and mathematics, while further exploring his interest in public service. Congratulations Regan!
 
TAGS
August 8, 2013
 Some have asked us to issue a formal statement on behalf of EDC celebrating the life of our dear friend Duane Roth. We believe that CONNECT, BIOCOM and others have already done so quite beautifully. So in a less formal fashion, I would like to share the following thoughts and reflections...
 
To try to write down what Duane Roth meant to San Diego Regional EDC, and our entire binational economic development community, is next to impossible. 
 
As most of you know, Duane was a longtime board member. He was our past chair. He was our partner on countless projects and our constant supporter behind the scenes. He was an incredible thinker. He was a visionary in the truest sense of the word. He was our motivator, our agitator and our confidant. But above all, he was our friend.
 
For me personally, having the opportunity to work so closely with Duane for the past 19 months has turned out to be a greater blessing than I could have ever imagined. Looking back, it seems as if Duane and I were doing something together just about every day.
 
We spoke on countless panels together--telling the story of our traded economies. We worked to create a collaborative economic development agenda for our organizations and our region. We planned meetings together. We supported each other's grant writing and fundraising efforts. We traveled together and lobbied together. And along the way, we spent a lot of time talking about our work, our economy and our community.
 
Duane changed the way we think and talk about San Diego. His personality and professional will made us bigger, stronger and better. He believed we were great and he made sure the world knew that. He used his influence to open doors, his intellect to create opportunities and his determination to earn broad-reaching respect and admiration. 
 
Duane always went about everything he did with a sense of importance and urgency. At times, none of us could move fast enough for him. In hindsight, it's almost as if he knew that he had very little time to waste. 
 
Like many, I will spend the days ahead thinking about what role I can play in carrying on his legacy. I will take the messages that I have heard him share with so many and ensure that I continue to share them with everyone I can. I will do my very best to see through the projects we started together and I will constantly try to do for others what Duane did for me. 
 
On Saturday, when I first learned that Duane had passed away, I immediately thought of a quote from John Steinbeck that I have always loved. It reads:
 
"It is so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone." 
 
As dark as it may seem today, I can't help but think of how lucky we all are for having shared this remarkable light.
 
I will never forget Duane.  I will never forget what he shared with me and what he taught me. And in saying goodbye, I can only think of the words of the Irish Blessing I learned as a child: "...until we meet again, may God always hold you in the palm of His hand."
 
With deep sorrow and enduring hope, 
 
Mark
 
July 29, 2013

Aerospace is part of a large and thriving Aerospace, Navigation & Maritime Technologies (ANMT) cluster in San Diego. Among the 25 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas, San Diego ranks second in the concentration of ANMT employment behind longtime aerospace leader Seattle.

 The cluster accounts for more than 20 percent of San Diego’s innovation economy, more than any other cluster except Information and Communication Technologies. San Diego’s growing unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sector presents a unique opportunity for companies in the Aerospace industry, with cutting-edge applications being developed in San Diego and throughout California. Currently, 60 percent of U.S. technology development in unmanned systems is performed in San Diego County, according to National University System Institute for Policy Research. With the rise in commercial and consumer uses, this industry sector is well positioned to carry the aerospace industry forward and continue to attract top engineering talent to the region.

  Since the aerospace industry shares many components with other industries in the ANMT cluster, it is difficult to break down aerospace companies and employment from the rest of the cluster. Some of the key aerospace-specific components of the cluster include: Search, Detection, Navigation and Guidance; Aeronautical and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing; Aircraft Manufacturing including Aircraft Engine and Engine Parts Manufacturing; and Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing. San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic metrics that are important to understanding the regional economy and San Diego's standing relative to other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. For more information about San Diego’s aerospace industry and the full run down on how San Diego is faring compared to other major metropolitan regions, see the July 2013 Economic Snapshot.

 

 

 

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July 15, 2013

 

Gwynne Shotwell just might work for the coolest company on the planet - or as she puts it "In 10 years or so, it might be the coolest company on another planet." Shotwell is talking about SpaceX, the company where she serves as president and COO. Even the most sophisticated in the audience at San Diego Venture Group’s July 12 Venture Summit gasped at the video of SpaceX rockets being tested that blast off and then return to the launch pad. “Grasshopper” is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle that SpaceX designed to enable a rocket to return to earth. The ultimate destination? Mars – which Shotwell described as a “fixer-upper planet.” Her humorous and very informative talk left everyone thinking about the power of dreaming big.

Dave Titus, San Diego Venture Group’s president gave a “Venture Status Update” that included both good news and sobering news. Venture fundraising has dropped over the last five years even though the number of firms has stayed about the same. Active funds are down 20 percent in the last five years and the first half of 2013 looks to be following this trend. The industry is consolidating – the top 20 firms raise 55 percent of all the dollars with an average fund size of $400 million. The remaining firms have an average fund size of $41 million.

One surprising statistic shows that since 2008, venture investing has surpassed venture raised, resulting in deficit spending. Titus cited some reasons that could account for the discrepancy – imprecise data, investment coming from non-traditional funds (family offices, foreign investors, hedge funds) and the rise of corporate venture capital. Corporate venture has increased 50 percent in the last three years but seems to be leveling off. On the local front, Qualcomm Ventures is the second largest technology corporate venture fund in the world, exceeded only by Intel.

According to Titus, financings will be harder – he told the entrepreneurs in the audience to plan for that reality and practice, practice, practice your pitch! As for the good news: exits are up with 21 venture-backed IPOs in the second quarter of 2013 and 11 biotech IPOs.

Citing sectors like enterprise software and hardware, Titus told the 600-plus attendees “Hard things are popular again and San Diego is good at hard things.”

 

 


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July 2, 2013

San Diego Venture Group Cool CompaniesIn 2012, the San Diego region raked in upwards of $1.1 billion in venture funding, beating Texas, Colorado, the DC Metroplex and other locales. At the San Diego Venture Group’s Annual Venture Summit on July 12, participants will be able to interact with more than 120 VCs and 30 “cool” companies.

The Venture Summit is one of the most popular events produced by SDVG and connects numerous top entrepreneurs from the region with many investors from Southern California, the Bay Area and other areas to showcase how the innovation climate thrives in San Diego. The Summit will feature a keynote by Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, as well as other San Diego innovators including Chris Anderson (3D Robotics), Dr. James Mault (Qualcomm Life) and Larry Stambaugh (San Diego Zoo Bioinspiration Centre.)

For the second year in a row, the Venture Summit will include 30 San Diego “Cool Companies.” From social media to software and algae biofuels, companies making this year’s roster include Roambi, Sapphire Energy, and Embarke. They are indicative of the dynamic industries that fuel San Diego’s innovation economy.

Venture Summit is not the only venture-related activity that’s happening in San Diego on July 12. On that day, companies from around the globe will hand in WBT logotheir submissions to present at WBT Innovation Marketplace. Now in its 11th year, WBT Innovation Marketplace brings together the largest collection of vetted and mentored companies and technologies emanating from top universities, labs, research institutions, and the private sector. More than 10 years of research shows that one in three WBT presenters goes on to license, secure venture funding, or sell their IP outright. Last year, the show moved from Arlington, Texas to San Diego, so it could benefit from the region’s world-class talent pool and strong venture capital community.

Companies are invited to apply to present at the Oct. 22 showcase.

With all of the venture activity going on throughout the region, it’s no wonder San Diego has been identified as a high-tech challenger to Silicon Valley.


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June 27, 2013

He ought to say "Move over Jon Stewart." Beaulieu had an EDC audience laughing about economic forecasting. Not exactly an easy thing to do. Humor aside, Beaulieu - who serves as principal at ITR Economics - has an impressive record of accurate forecasts - 96.2 percent accuracy looking 12 months into the future. In a fast-paced and animated presentation, Beaulieu gave the crowd what they came for: actionable information about the coming year. He says while GDP has been growing at a tepid pace in 2013 there will be a slowdown in 2014 as industrial production slows. He cautioned not to project 2013 growth rates into 2014. "Focus on efficiencies, training and outsourcing," he said. And as the country grows toward energy independence, Beaulieu sees an increase in manufacturing in the U.S. Longer-term he looks for good years in 2015 – 2018. However, according to Beaulieu’s research, this will be followed by a noticeable recession in 2019.

"The U.S. is fundamentally healthy," he said. "There's more upside than things to worry about." He pointed out that California maps to the U.S. in terms of trends.

Beaulieu mentioned a list of problems including Europe’s financial stability, China’s slowing growth rate and sequestration. But he parried these with quick explanations. Germany and France are committed to the European Union and will exert a strong influence on policy. China will not melt down; the new leadership is taking a longer view and is letting growth slow down as the government sets up for economic stability. Using a chart to contrast projected spending before and after sequestration, Beaulieu made it clear that the delta between the two is small compared to overall spending.

The presentation included some very positive observations about Mexico’s economy. “Their manufacturing index is up, they are producing better goods, and their management is national now – not ex-pat,” Beaulieu said, at one point calling it “Canada to the South.”

You can check out Alan's presentation here.

 

 

June 19, 2013
EDC dashbaordEDC has set out to chart the health of the regional economy through our new dashboard. Statistics on the economy can often be confusing, and are rarely packaged together in one place. We’ve sorted through data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, International Trade Administration and others to find the most compelling and indicative statistics on the San Diego economy. Using simple design principles, the dashboard is our one-stop shop for quick, at-a-glance data about our regional economy.
 
The dashboard provides baseline indicators on 20 different metrics to track the region’s standing among the 25 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas. They range from conventional economic indicators, such as unemployment rate and Gross Domestic Product, to less familiar quality of life indicators, like sunshine hours. Along with our Economic Snapshot, launched earlier this quarter, this new comparison format helps us understand how San Diego stacks up with other major metropolitan areas across the nation. 
 
Although the indicators will more or less stay the same, the numbers will be updated as new data becomes available. 
 
Please contact mpc@sandiegobusiness.org if you have any ideas on how to improve the dashboard.